I have been making this rich fruit Christmas cake for the last four years and it is so good that even our non gluten free family and friends love it. It is adapted from a recipe in BBC Good Food Magazine, December 2010.
I like to make it about 6 weeks before Christmas Day allowing me at least 4 weeks to keep “feeding” it with brandy and then a week before I decorate it.
Before starting please note that the dried fruit is best soaked overnight.
50g mixed peel
150ml brandy – I keep a bottle of cheap supermarket brandy in my larder
zest and juice of 1 lemon
vegetable oil for the tin
140g gluten free plain flour
1 teaspoon gluten free baking powder
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
1 teaspoon mixed spice
1 teaspoon ground allspice
140g unsalted butter softened
140g soft dark brown sugar
3 medium eggs at room temperature
50g ground almonds
2 tablespoons semi-skimmed milk
100g natural coloured glace cherries, washed and halved
1 tablespoon black treacle
1 tablespoon clear honey
Place the fruit and mixed peel in a pan, add the brandy,lemon zest and lemon juice and bring to the boil. Take the pan off the heat, cover with cling film and leave to soak overnight
Heat the oven to 150C non fan or 130C fan oven. Oil the sides and base of a 18cm cake tin and place a double layer of baking parchment on the base and on the sides making a tall collar of paper above the top of the tin.
Sift the flour, baking powder, xanthan gum and spices. In a separate bowl beat the butter and sugar until fluffy and light. Gradually and alternately add the eggs and flour mix to the butter and sugar mix, then add the ground almonds. Stir in the milk, soaked dried fruit and cherries. Stir in the treacle and honey and give the mixture a good stir.
Spoon the mixture into the tin and bake for between 2 and 3 hours until a skewer is inserted and comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tin. Once cold remove from the tin and baking parchment. Wrap in several layers of foil and store in a airtight container.
Each week take out and feed with a teaspoon of brandy. Turn upside down and piece with a skewer in a few places and drop the brandy into the cake. Wrap and store
Decorate with marzipan and icing the week before Christmas Day